Sailing to Alaska, Day 3 – Ketchikan & Misty Fjords Flightseeing

Day 3 on our Alaska cruise out of Vancouver was a port day, in Ketchikan. Despite a weather forecast calling for a chance of rain, it was a beautiful – perfect for our flightseeing trip into Misty Fjords.

I caught the Alaska pilot’s boat leaving our side at 04:57.

Alaska pilot's boat
Dawn was just breaking as the pilot’s boat left – sunrise would be an hour yet, at 05:50.

Dawn near Ketchikan, Alaska
We neared Ketchikan at an extremely low tide. Note the floatplane next to the house – a great way to explore Southeast Alaska!

A floatplane next to a house near Ketchikan
Ketchikan has a good-sized Coast Guard station, where this cutter was docked.

U.S. Coast Guard cutter near Ketchikan, Alaska

The Ketchikan docks at 05:40 – we were scheduled to arrive at 07:00.

Ketchikan, Alaska

The classic “Welcome to Ketchikan” sign.

Welcome to Ketchikan sign

We ordered breakfast in our cabin this morning but the quality wasn’t very good. It’s a widespread problem on cruise ships that nobody knows how to cook scrambled eggs – it’s not a form of soup, folks!

Breakfast on the Celebrity Millennium

The view at our docking position, the 2nd from the north.

Boat harbor at Ketchikan, Alaska

We walked the 4 blocks or so to the base of Island Wings, arriving just before 08:00 as pilot Michelle Madsen and an assistant were launching her float plane, an immaculate 1959 de Havilland Beaver.

Island Wings, Ketchikan, Alaska

08:14 – away we go!

Float plane at Ketchikan, Alaska

A look at some of the homes across the channel from downtown Ketchikan.

Ketchikan, Alaska

An Alaska state ferry sails south from Ketchikan

A ferry sails south from Ketchikan, Alaska

This area is incredibly beautiful, and only from the air can you really understand not only how vast it is, but how little impact humans have on it.

The coast northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska

An impressive spire known as New Eddystone Rock with a pair of bald eagles nesting on it.

New Eddystone Rock - Ketchikan, Alaska

By 08:40 we were approaching the most impressive part of Misty Fjords, with incredible cliffs and waterfalls.

Misty Fjords

Spring is late, and Father Winter is still in charge at fairly low elevations.

Misty Fjords

What a spot!

A closeup of the top of the waterfall seen in the photo above.

Waterfall in Misty Fjords

Beautiful colours in meltwater.

Misty Fjords

One of the more scenic locations.

Misty Fjords

This is the lake we were going to land on.

Misty Fjords

The approach to the landing.

Misty Fjords

We got off the plane on a little granite island, and spent about half an hour just trying to absorb the majesty of the place.

The group minus one in paradise.

Misty Fjords

Another Beaver takes off from the far end of our lake.

Misty Fjords

We took off from the lake at 09:25 – this is one of the many great sites on the way back to Ketchikan.

Misty Fjords

This freighter, up a fjord far from the open ocean, is loading raw logs for processors in Asia – one of the most controversial of forestry practices.

A high view of downtown Ketchikan, with the airport in the upper part of the photo.

We decided to get some local colour, and spent a while in the Arctic Bar, where we met the colourful local we were looking for. Great to meet you, Joe! 🙂

Sailing north from Ketchikan at 3:20.

The Ketchikan airport.

A distant look at Totem Bight park.

Evening light at 8:50pm.

Prince of Wales Island has some very impressive limestone formations, including this peak.

The right place at the right time – moonrise at 9:28pm while the rest of the group was in the casino 🙂

The Misty Fjords flight will certainly be one of the highlights of this trip – one of our group termed it a religious experience. Tomorrow, we visit Icy Strait Point, where we don’t have anything booked.


Sailing to Alaska, Day 3 – Ketchikan & Misty Fjords Flightseeing — 6 Comments

  1. Gotta say, the nice weather you guys are getting is making me very jealous!! 🙁

  2. Hi, after being in the Yukon three times, I simply wanted to tell you how i love your blog especially your pictures. What is your camera ?
    hope you enjoy the rest of your trip as much as I enjoy readin of it.

  3. Hi I am so glad I read this post on float planes. Its a challenge I must do as I hate confined spaces..It appears the scenery is very like Tasmania but Im sure we will still enjoy the experience Thaks for sharing Liz

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  5. Great photos. Honestly some of the best photos I’ve seen on a travel blog. Keep up the great work.